Entries open for Ocean Awareness Contest (13th Edition)

Deadline Date: June 10, 2024

Donor Name: Bow Seat

Grant Size: Less than $1000

Entries are now open for the 13th annual Ocean Awareness Contest, a platform for young people to learn about environmental issues through art-making and creative communication, explore their relationship to a changing world, and become advocates for positive change.

2024 Theme: Tell Your Climate Story

The 2024 Ocean Awareness Contest – Tell Your Climate Story – encourages you to become a climate witness and share your own unique climate story. They are asking you to creatively express your personal experiences, insights, or perceptions about the changing climate reality. Use this opportunity to learn about the climate crisis and how it impacts your family and community, and to examine your individual responses to the evolving world.

Ocean Awareness Contest Awards

  • Cash awards are presented to winners in all of the categories at both the Junior and Senior Division levels.
    • Gold: $1000
    • Silver: $750
    • Bronze: $500
    • Pearl: $250
    • Honorable Mention: $100
  • We All Rise Prize
    • As part of Bow Seat’s long-term effort to increase the diversity of the program participants, they sponsor the We All Rise Prize, awards totaling $5,000 specifically for youth in the U.S. who self-identify as Black, Indigenous, and/or Latine.
    • Five $500 awards in both the Junior Division (ages 11-14) and Senior Division (ages 15-18)—a total of 10 awards—will be offered to students in the U.S. who identify as Black, Indigenous, and/or Latine in the Ocean Awareness Contest, and whose entries demonstrate notable artistic achievement in their chosen category. Cash awards are not restricted and can be used for tuition, art supplies, or personal expenses. Select winning artwork will also be featured in promotional materials for the following year’s We All Rise Prize.
  • Voice of the Sea Award
    • In Partnership with Poet/Activist/Educator Tayllor Johnson
      • As the Ocean Awareness Contest has grown over the years, young artists have continued to push the boundaries of the categories in ways that have intrigued and moved them. The Voice of the Sea Award was inspired by receiving a growing number of spoken word poems—pieces that truly came alive through performance. To celebrate this powerful mode of expression, Bow Seat recognizes one spoken word poetry submission with Voice of the Sea Awards in each age division: one $500 award for a Junior submission, and one $500 award for a Senior submission. Entries must follow the requirements for submitting in the Poetry & Spoken Word category.
  • Bay State Award (Massachusetts students only)
    • All Ocean Awareness Contest participants who reside in Massachusetts will be automatically considered for the Bay State Award, a special recognition to celebrate the creative young artists, thinkers, and activists in the home state! From the Housatonic River to the Quabbin Reservoir to the Atlantic Ocean, water connects them all and plays a wicked important role in the Commonwealth’s economy, culture, and health of the human and non-human residents. Up to 3 winners in each age division will each receive a $100 cash award.
  • Hometown Award (Boston, Massachusetts students only)
    • This award recognizes talented students in Bow Seat’s hometown of Boston, Massachusetts. Eligible participants must demonstrate financial need. Up to 3 winners in each age division will each receive a $100 cash award.
  • South Coast, Cape & Islands Award (Massachusetts students only)
    • Thanks to the generosity of the Island Foundation—which is committed to the conservation of marine and coastal resources in southeastern Massachusetts—they will be offering two $100 cash awards in each age division to Ocean Awareness Contest participants who reside on the South Coast of Massachusetts, Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, or Nantucket.
  • Publishing, Art Exhibitions, and Special Opportunities
    • As a winner, you may have a special opportunity to showcase your talents worldwide while raising awareness of environmental issues to a broader community. Bow Seat organizes art exhibitions, pop-up shows, and social media campaigns; curates anthologies of art and poetry; finds opportunities to publish student writing; and showcases all winning student work in the online gallery. As part of Bow Seat’s student art collection, your creative piece will help to educate and inspire audiences to take action!

Why participate?

  • Gain knowledge about climate change and its relationship to and impact on the changing world. Dive into Bow Seat’s Resource Studio to learn more about the issues; find artists and organizations taking action to protect our blue planet; and discover ways that you can get involved.
  • Grow your skills in communication, critical thinking, creativity, and environmental advocacy. Use your artwork to raise awareness for critical environmental issues.
  • Build your portfolio and make art in your preferred medium, or practice a new one! Add to your resume with a participation certificate.
  • Showcase your talents worldwide. Through art exhibitions, publications, social media campaigns, and scholarships, Bow Seat uplifts diverse youth voices to advance dialogue and participation in environmental conservation and advocacy.
  • Join Bow Seat’s global community of over 30,000 young people who care about the ocean, environmental justice, and climate action, and contribute to the largest youth environmental arts collection in the world.

Who May Enter?

  • This is an international Contest and is open to students ages 11-18 who are enrolled in middle school or high school (or the homeschool equivalent) worldwide. Proof of age, identity, or eligibility may be required.
  • Students who have started college or university are not eligible to participate in the Contest.
  • Students ages 11-14 may enter the Junior Division. Students ages 15-18 may enter the Senior Division. Please enter the age division based on your age at the time of entry.
  • Participants under the age of 13 must have a parent or legal guardian complete a Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Parent/Guardian Consent Form with their submission
  • Entries may be submitted by an individual or group of unlimited size. If you submit as a group, there must be one group leader who will serve as the contact person for the group.
    • All of the names of the group members must be listed in the submission.
    • All group members must meet age eligibility requirements (11-18 years old.)
    • Award money will be split evenly among the group members.
    • Submit in the age division of the group leader.
  • A student may submit (i.e., have their name included in) only one entry per category. Therefore, a student may have a maximum of seven different submissions, one in each category.

For more information, visit Bow Seat.

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